Insights on overflow from failure to report tasks

Brendan T. Hutchinson*, Kavindu H. Bandara, Hugh T. McGovern, Louisa A. Talipski

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Theories of consciousness diverge on the functional requirement that a conscious state need be reportable. Some maintain that the perceptual system's capacity for consciousness exceeds that of its capacity for access. Others contend that what is accessed is all there is to consciousness. Here, we suggest a compelling case for access-free consciousness cannot be made reliant on experimental evidence where access is necessarily invoked. However, a bona fide empirical separation of consciousness and report could counter the claim that reportability, and hence access, is all there is to consciousness. We first overview recent neurophysiological findings from no-report tasks, before examining a series of studies in which participants were unable to report features of clearly visible items. These new data present a challenge for a hard “access-only” view of consciousness, as they appear to demonstrate that properties of our visual experience can remain unreportable. In so doing, we highlight the utility and underappreciated value of so-called failure to report tasks.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number113610
    JournalBehavioural Brain Research
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022


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